Grade R Mathematics and Language Improvement Programme

For Public Ordinary Schools Starting in Gauteng from 2022

GDE’s Education Roadmap 2019-2024. Priority 1

Complete the universalisation of Grade R and Begin the preparations for the introduction of Grade RR”

About the Programme

An essential part of Grade R education is promoting opportunities for children to:

  • explore
  • be exposed to
  • participate in mathematics and language.

The Grade R Mathematics and Language Improvement Programme offers a child-centred and play-based approach to teaching and learning mathematics and language. Children are naturally motivated to play. A play-based approach builds on this motivation, using play as a context for learning. In this context, children can explore, experiment, discover, and solve problems in imaginative and playful ways. The target audience is the FP participants. They will be equipped with innovative methods to mediate FP concepts effectively. The Programme finds its expression in the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS). The Programme draws from the evidence-based Grade R interventions developed by Wordworks in language and the University of Cape Town: School Development Unit in Mathematics.

Promoting Good Beginnings

IMG_9528.jpgEarly Childhood Development (ECD) is the building block of a child’s journey: every stage of education that follows relies on its success. At this early age, developing strong foundational skills, namely numeracy and literacy, means children are more likely to build on these critical skills and less likely to repeat grades and drop out. In unlocking the benefits of foundational skills development, the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) introduces the Grade R Mathematics and Language Improvement Programme in Gauteng Public Ordinary Schools and registered community-based sites (CBS) from 2022. The programme supports the implementation of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS).

Goal and Objectives

The overarching goals are to:

  • Improve the quality of Grade R teaching and learning,
  • To build capacity in FP in mathematics and language

The objectives are:

  • To support FP in curriculum implementation
  • To assist managers in monitoring and supporting the phase
  • To provide guidance on the appropriate mathematics and language material resourcing for Grade R classrooms 

Mathematics Programme

The Grade R Mathematics Programme is informed by:

  • Current research (theory and practice) on how children develop mathematical concepts
  • How best to facilitate the learning of these concepts
  • How best to improve mathematical conceptual knowledge and teaching competence
  • How best children can experience mathematics as a purposeful, meaningful, and sensible activity

The aim is to strengthen the learning and teaching of mathematics in Grade R settings. The Programme is structured and supported by a kit of classroom resources.

Language Programme

IMG_9504.jpgThe Grade R Language Programme emphasises the importance of young children understanding of the purpose and value of reading and writing and participating in co-constructing texts. The Programme uses a story-based approach in which oral stories promote language and early literacy development.

Children’s experience with language in their early years provides:

  • Critical foundations for later reading
  • Addresses the need for children to pay attention to sounds in words and learn letter-sound relationships.
  • Help children to cope with the Grade 1 curriculum.


The following key principles guide the work of the GDE and the Programme.

  • Be embedded in the GDE, be systemic, be at scale, implemented across the province, and linked to FP to sustain impact.
  • Be premised on the capacity of the GDE by providing quality training to trainers, Grade R teachers and practitioners, thus strengthening the transition from Grade R to Grade 1.
  • Utilise a tested intervention while benefiting from lessons learnt from the Western Cape.
  • Be inclusive across all provincial levels including fifty-five special schools which will be involved from 2022.
  • Incentivise Grade R teachers and practitioners through training approved by a tertiary institution or endorsed by the South African Council for Educators (SACE).

Director for Early Childhood Development at the Gauteng Department of Education, Ms Phumelele Tloubatla, introduces the Grade R Mathematics and Language Improvement Programme (MLIP), watch the video below: